Ohio Senate Candidate speaks on the issues in Piketon visit | news

PIKETON — His teaching days took him to China. His pursuit of an acting career took him to Hollywood. Now, Garry Boone is wishing to head to Columbus.

What he hopes will take him up US Route 23, or Interstate 71 from his Hillsboro home, is a successful campaign in Ohio’s 17th senate district.

In November, the Democrat is running against current Ohio House District 91 Rep. Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, as current Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Washington Court House, is instead running for the Ohio House of Representatives.

Boone is embracing an underdog role in this race, historically with Republican control of the district dating back to 1990, but he said he won’t go down without a fight.

What he instead vows for his representing all parts of the district, which currently includes Clinton, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Pike and Ross counties as well as portions of Lawrence, Pickaway and Vinton counties.

“A lot of things interest me, but the main thing is: I will pride myself as being of the voice of he who has no voice,” Boone said in an interview. “No one wants to listen to the little guy; I will.”

On Friday, as preparations were underway for the Wings and Strings Festival in Piketon, Boone spoke with the News Watchman on the issues.

As or Jan. 1, 2022, Ohio’s minimum wage jumped to $9.30 per hour- up from $8.80 the prior year.

Per his website, Boone said he supports raising the wage. When asked by how much, he said the minimum wage should be $15 an hour.

He comes to this position as a former small business owner- building the original Subway in Hillsboro and owning Georgio’s Pizza and a convenience store.

“I was paying $7 an hour, 20 years ago,” he said of his Subway ownership days. “And it hasn’t really gone up that much in 20 years.”

In nearby Highland and Brown counties, solar energy is beginning to take-off, Boone said. Between the towns of Lynchburg and Hillsboro, he said nearly all the farmland- a 13-mile area- is covered with solar panels.

A proponent of this type of renewable energy, the candidate’s primary concern is what he describes as a lack of oversight.

If elected, he wants a more thorough form of oversight and enforcement of how the land is supposed to be used.

“All of the things they’re supposed to be doing, they’re not doing,” Boone said, these solar panels being placed primarily by corporate interests.

Currently, there is a lacking of buffer zones of fast growing trees and bushes, forage crops underneath for sheep, and pollinators to attract bees.

$500 million proposed investment

Recently, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a proposed $500 million investment coming to the state’s 32 Appalachian counties.

As reported previously by the News Watchmanmunicipalities could receive varying sums of cash dependent on the phase of the rollout and if partnerships were formed with others in the region.

In Phase I, each individual municipality may apply for $100,000 in planning funding, whereas each municipalities that work together may apply for up to $3 million. Phase II would permit $15 million to individuals and $50 million to regional collaboration projects, which Husted said was they encouraged route.

With eligible uses of that money set for workforce development, substance abuse disorder treatment, and downtown revitalization, Boone welcomed the proposal and is optimistic that it’ll come to fruition.

What he is not as optimistic in this distribution of those funds, especially after the fallout of the House Bill 6 scandal led to the judgment of then Ohio House speaker Larry Householder on racketeering charges.

The scandal, where Householder and several associates are accused of allegedly taking $61 million bribes for the bailout of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.

as the Columbus Dispatch reported in May 2021, FBI experts ranked Ohio as the most corrupt state in the United States for the HB6 scandal and several other investigations in Toledo and Cincinnati.

Surprised by this, Boone said he did some deep reading and agreed with the assessment.

“It’s worse than what I thought,” he said.

Following suit with Florida, Ohio Reps. Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, and Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, recently introduced legislation that “regards promotion, teaching-divisive, inherently racist concepts.”

House Bill 616, what opponents are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would prevent school districts from permitting the use of textbooks or curriculum that promotes “divisive or inherently racist” concepts.

Those concepts, as listed in the introductory legislation, are as followed:

  • Critical race theory
  • intersectional theory
  • The 1619 project
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes
  • Inherited racial guilt

Teachers in grades kindergarten through third grade would be kept from using curriculum on sexual orientation or gender identity through the legislation, whereas teachers in grades four through 12 would have to teach age or developmentally appropriate lessons.

Following 25 years as an English teacher at Laurel Oaks in Wilmington, Boone sees the legislation as going too far. He is leery of what the consequences could be if the legislation were to pass.

“You won’t have any teachers that will think for themselves,” he said, projecting the teachers against it would either quit or be fired. “I looked at it and said ‘Well, I wouldn’t want to be a teacher now.’”

Due to the state’s ongoing re-districting efforts for the Ohio Senate and House districts, the primary vote for the General Assembly races- originally scheduled for May 3 with the US Senate, US House, and other state and local races- has been moved back .

According to the Ohio Secretary of State 2022 Election Calendar, a special election for these races is tentatively set for Tuesday, Aug. 2. Early absentee voting would begin on July 6.

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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